Crews at Everett Shipyard tested the Chetzemoka’s marine evacuation system (MES) on
Tuesday, June 22.
It took less than 90 second for the MES to fill with CO2. A loud hiss could be heard from shore as 1,740 psi of CO2 filled the evacuation slide and rescue platform. This initial
hissing of CO2 was followed by an impressive splash as the 1,000 pound unit hit the
Moments later, test participants were sliding down the 40-foot ramp into the platform.
About 30 Washington State Ferries crewmembers and mangers participated in the test. Once
all the crewmembers were safely aboard the platform, a secondary platform – held tightly
in cylindrical container – was dropped from the side of the vessel into the water,
releasing another impressive cannonball like splash.
Crews positioned the container next to the inflated platform and “popped the cork”
unleashing a rush of CO2 into the structure. In an emergency situation, passengers would
transfer from the primary platform into the secondary platform, making room for other
passenger to safely evacuate the vessel.
There are two marine evacuation systems on each vessel. The Chetzemoka’s four platforms
have capacity for approximately 192 passengers each. The MES test was required by the
U.S. Coast Guard to demonstrate the functionality of this important piece of safety
Todd Pacific Shipyards moved the Chetzemoka to Everett Shipyard in April, where crews are
performing final outfitting and systems testing. The MES is just one of the hundreds of
systems that will have to be tested before the vessel goes into service.
We hope we never have to use it, but if an emergency does arise, we know the Chetzemoka’s
MES is ready to go.